SHAH ALAM, Malaysia (AP) — Security video footage showing the estranged half brother of North Korea’s leader being attacked at a Malaysian airport and the two suspects hurrying away afterward were presented at their murder trial on Wednesday.
Kim Jong Nam was seen arriving at the departure hall at the budget terminal of the Kuala Lumpur international airport the morning of Feb. 13 and moving to a check-in area. A woman identified in court as Vietnamese suspect Doan Thi Huong approaches Kim and clasps both hands on his face from behind before fleeing.
The second suspect, Indonesian Siti Aisyah, can’t be seen attacking Kim, but police officer Wan Azirul Nizam Che Wan Aziz testified that he identified her as a person seen in the video running away in a different direction.
Wan Azirul told the court that Huong’s manner was “aggressive” and she didn’t apologize to Kim, like she did to another person she approached at the airport two days earlier. A video of that encounter, which was described as a practice session for smearing Kim’s face with VX nerve agent, was also shown to the court.
Both women are seen hurrying to separate restrooms, holding their hands away from their bodies as if to avoid contact. Wan Azirul testified that their hands were in normal positions after they left the restrooms. He said there were restrooms on the floor where the attack took place, but the women had gone to restrooms one floor down.
Prosecutors contend the women knew they were handling poison, and a chemical weapons expert who testified earlier said VX could be removed safely by careful hand-washing. The expert, who is a government chemist, detected traces of VX on Huong’s fingernail clippings and both women’s clothing, and testified that the amount of VX detected on Kim’s face exceeded a fatal dose.
“She seemed to be anxious,” Wan Azirul told the court. “From my observation, Doan has been informed and knew what needed to be done. Even though she seemed to be in panic, she knew what to do.”
Their defense lawyers have said Huong and Aisyah were duped by suspected North Korean agents into believing they were playing a harmless prank for a TV show.
Security video footage shown later in the day traced Kim’s movements after he was attacked. He gestured to his eyes and face while meeting with police officers, and he appeared to stagger as he walked with one officer to the airport medical clinic. He was later seen being pushed on a gurney by medical staff.
The images of the women show they went to the airport taxi stand after leaving the restrooms.
Video footage showed Huong, wearing a white long-sleeve top emblazoned with the letters “LOL” — the acronym for laughing out loud — and a blue skirt, waiting at the taxi stand. Aisyah, dressed in a gray sleeveless top, jeans and a scarf, then arrived and got into a taxi that appeared to be waiting for her while Huong was still in the taxi line.
Huong and Aisyah have pleaded not guilty to murder charges that carry a mandatory death sentence if they are convicted.
The security footage was captured from cameras around the airport. The two women appeared to be on their own and there was no indication that they knew each other.
Earlier, the court was shown video footage of Huong buying a taxi voucher at the airport two hours before the attack on Kim. Aisyah, meanwhile, was seen in another security video meeting with an unidentified man at a cafe near the attack area 45 minutes earlier.
Video showed the man, wearing a black baseball cap and glasses, arriving at the cafe holding a white plastic bag. He then set up his cellphone on a selfie stick on a table just before Aisyah arrived. They chatted and had a drink, and the man handed a ticket to Aisyah before she left. Wan Azirul later identified the ticket as a taxi voucher.
The judge, lawyers and the two suspects are expected to visit the crime scene next week. •
By EILEEN NG, Associated Press